High Rate Assistance Credit Program


​Pursuant to Wis. Admin. Code § PSC 160.09, all Eligible Telecommunication Carriers (ETCs) shall provide high-rate assistance (HRAC) credits to residential customers when the price of voice service exceeds specified thresholds. 

The credits provide a discount on customer bills if the price for voice service exceed one percent of median household income (MHI) for the county in which the service is provided. If the price for voice service is a greater percentage of MSI, the HRAC credit will cover an increasing percentage of the price. 

As of 2022, median household income is approximately $63,000. This means that the HRAC credits would only kick in if the price of voice service – just voice, not voice and data, or voice plus a cell phone, etc. - is above $50 per month. At present, no providers are charging that much for voice service. 

HRAC credits are calculated based on the amount charged to customers for voice service. Other instances of HRAC credit disbursement include, if providers offer voice service on a stand-alone basis, the credit is based on that rate, plus set mandatory surcharges and fees, together with the median income for the area. If a provider offers voice service only as part of a package, the credit is based on just the voice portion of that package. The HRAC credits are calculated based on the costs associated with communications services. It does not apply towards communication service packages or equipment such as smartphones, routers or computers. These calculations are defined in Wis. Admin. Code § PSC 160.09. They are further explained in the steps laid out below.

Providers are reimbursed for any HRAC credits issued by the Wisconsin Universal Service Fund (USF).

ETCs shall recalculate HRAC Credits each time basic local residential or other rates included in the credit calculation are changed or when directed by the Commission.

Determining Eligiblity

To determine if customers are eligible for the high-rate assistance credit, provider, ETCs (or interested individuals) should take the following steps:

  1. Download the Microsoft Excel file below. You may also obtain a copy of the spreadsheet and instructions by emailing a request to peter.jahn@wisconsin.gov.
  2. Complete the spreadsheet, using the instructions below.
  3. If customers are eligible for high rate assistance credits, please send a copy of the spreadsheet to peter.jahn@wisconsin.gov. Once the spreadsheet is received, you will receive further information on how to file for reimbursement.
  4. It is important to recalculate such credits each time basic local residential or other rates included in the credit calculation are changed. If the change in the credit would be small enough to be insignificant, please contact Commission staff. Staff may approve deferring the change if the customer impact would be insignificant, compared to the cost of implementing the change.

Questions about this program should be directed to Peter Jahn at (608) 267-2338 or peter.jahn@wisconsin.gov.

High-Rate Assistance Credit Program Guidelines and Forms

HRAC Calculation Excel File hrac calculation file.xlsx
Instructions for Completing HRAC Calculation Excel File Instructions HRAC Calculation Excel File.docx